Saturday, June 28, 2014

Ginette Neveu, and the Tour that Never Happened

by Andy Fein and Joseph Peterson

Ginette Neveu, noted for her power, intensity, and impeccable sonority, was one of the best violinists of the early twentieth century. To put things in perspective, she beat the 27 year old David Oistrakh at the Henryk Wieniawski Violin Competition when she was only 15. (Coincidentally, that was the same year that Ida Haendel placed 8th at age 7!)

Ginette Neveu was born on August 11, 1919 in Paris, France, and she began taking lessons from her mother at the age of 5. Only two years later,

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Why Violins Aren't Viol

by Andy Fein and Joe Peterson

At a glance, violin family and viol family instruments are very similar. They are both made of wood, both are played by bowing the strings, and both names share the same first four letters, but do not let that fool you! There are plenty of factors that separate violins from viols.
The head of a tenor viol, made circa 1693 by G.Karpp

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Choosing Strings to Improve Your Sound

by Andy Fein, violin maker & Diane Houser, professional violinist/violist and private teacher

There are so many strings on the market and each type of string has its own characteristics, which can dramatically alter your instrument's responsiveness, volume, playability and overall tone quality.  Since every instrument is unique and will respond differently to different strings, experimentation is key, but how do you choose? Where do you start?

 Your playing style can make a difference, as strings that are suitable for a bluegrass fiddler may not be suitable for a classical violinist.

There is a lot of confusion about strings, since there are no universal gauge or tension standards for manufacturers to follow, so let's clear up some of the mystery and take the fear out of experimenting with strings by explaining some basic terms. Hopefully this will allow you to make confident and informed string choices which will improve the sound of your instrument.

A 'Dominant' Violin D String under the microscope.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Wolf Gang - 40 years to life

by Joe Peterson

Why couldn't Mozart find his teacher? Because he was Hayd-n. Acclaimed for their seamless ensemble playing and their sensitive interpretations, the Amadeus Quartet is one of the most highly regarded and well-known string quartets in recorded history. They received many honors, including the Order of the British Empire, honorary doctorates from the universities of Caracas, London, and York, and, the highest of all German awards, the Grand Cross of Merit. They also recorded a lot of Mozart and Haydn.

The Amadeus String Quartet

Three out of four members of the Amadeus Quartet, Norbert Brainin, Siegmund Nissel, and Peter Schidlof (all violinists) met in a

Monday, February 3, 2014

Super Siblings: The other Vuillaume

by Andy Fein and Joe Peterson

Nicolas Francois Vuillaume

With all of the news about Olympic super-siblings lately (there's 15 competing in Sochi 2014), we thought it would be interesting to take a look at Nicolas Francois Vuillaume, the younger brother of luthier, bow maker and dealer extraordinaire Jean Baptiste Vuillaume.

While searching for an instrument of the highest quality for the lowest amount of money, we rarely think to check out the siblings of the great makers. For instance, we all know about the maker who worked with Paganini and Sarasate, Jean Baptiste Vuillaume, "the French Stradivarius," but how many of us have heard about his brother Nicholas Francois?